Two Days in CO: a Hike at Horsetooth Mountain

>> Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Pharmie and I got back Monday morning from a 3-day trip to Colorado. I had a piece in an exhibition at the "Center for Fine Art Photography" in Fort Collins, and the opening reception was Friday night. (Click that link for some photos of my wife and I all spiffed up.)

On Saturday, she went for a long run while I had a portfolio review, and then we drove 20 minutes to the Horsetooth Reservoir and ended up going on a 7+ mile hike to the Horsetooth Waterfall. Below are a bunch of pics from our first 2 days in Colorado.

(On Sunday, we spent the day along Big Thompson River at the base of the Rockies, and then a few hours in Rocky Mountain National Park. I'll have those pics in another post.)

First stop in CO was "Johnson's Corner" for a late breakfast. LOOK AT THIS DONUT!
That's a standard-sized cafeteria tray that it's on! It was unreal!

One of their famous rolls.

Exploring a trail in Fort Collins near our hotel as we were scouting locations
for Pharmie's long run. Those are some of the Horsetooth Mountains
in the distance that we would hike the next day.

There's a nice trail system in Fort Collins.

Lots of people commented on this tweet of mine from last week where I noted
getting kombucha for my wife at Target. I was teased for not going to a Co-op.
Well, we stopped at a Whole Foods to pick up some in FC. Better?

All dressed up for my opening on Friday night, going down our hotel elevator.
Click here for a few photos from the opening reception.

Out for Mexican and mini-margaritas after the reception.

Saturday started with a long run for my wife:

Selfie over a bridge on her run.

More of the hills in the distance that we were about to hike.

Looking good and sweaty after 12 miles.

Pharmie's route all on off-street trails through Fort Collins.

Before going hiking, we stopped at the Silver Grill Cafe for a late breakfast. I had some really amazing breakfast tacos:

Flattering, yes?

Our 2nd large cinnamon roll in less than 24 hours.
They were different, but about equally good.

Then after just a 20 minute drive, we saw this:

Looking down the long and skinny Horsetooth Reservoir.
(It's about a half mile wide and 6 miles long - straight off into the distance.)


We drove up the other side before driving down to hike farther north (to the left).

Starting our hike. What a perfect day!

Early on, it was just a gentle slope. Met a few mountain bikers.

Part way up, looking into one of the bays of the Reservoir.

Getting steeper...

Lots of blooming cacti all over the place.

Getting ready to turn onto the trail up ahead where the mountain biker is coming across.

Singletrack, with part of the Reservoir to the far left.

Dixon Cove and part of the Reservoir spilling out below us.

About to get to our highest point, about 600 feet above where we started
(though it was up-and-down throughout, so we climbed much more than 600 feet).

We had been hearing a few thunderclaps in the distance. (Note that the photos have been getting cloudier from when we started.) When we looked over the top, we saw absolute DOWNPOURS off in the distance to the west, north, and south. We were about 70% of the way to a waterfall on this hike, but we decided to turn around. We were OK with getting wet, but we didn't want to be fried by lightning. I only took 2 pics as we were heading back, because we were going fast. We went up in about 1:35, and came down in about 1:05.

Heading down.

We jogged for a while. It wasn't bad, but you can see a few big drops in the air.
Just enough to soak our shirts through, but not leave us TOTALLY soaked through.

Our out-and-back hike, turning around well before we hit the waterfall (red dot).

The weather cleared up, so we drove to the big lot at the bottom of that map. We tried that lot first 2 hours earlier, but it was full and people were even waiting. Now it had quieted down, and we figured we'd try to make it the rest of the way to the falls from those trails. So we took this blue route and headed towards Horsetooth Falls:

With both of these out-and-backs, we covered about 7.2 miles.

On our way to the falls.

It got more "canyon-like" as we neared the falls.

Getting steeper...

Coming across the 3-story trickle that is Horsetooth Falls.

Pharmie under the falls.

Looking back down the creek (the way we came in).

If you're keeping track, this is selfie #4.

Hiking back out.

We got back to our hotel and got cleaned up. I enjoyed a complementary manly cosmopolitan at the hotel bar before we took off for a nice meal:

Pink and delicious.

Then we headed to Jax Fish House where I Instagrammed this along with the caption:
"After a table full of peel-and-eat shrimp (in a tasty mustard sauce), a crab cake
for m'lady, spicy tuna tacos for me, and a tequila blueberry paloma."

We weren't hungry for dessert, but we still stopped at "Mary's Mountain Cookies"
for some cookie dough balls dipped in frosting.

Oh, and at the cookie place, you could get soda, Gatorade,

The next day, we went on an adventure in Rocky Mountain National Park. Back with photos from that in the next couple of days.


Anonymous,  6:50 AM, July 07, 2016  

Mini-margarita is now the saddest word I know in the English language.
-Matt D

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